Hebridean Barns

Applecross has many unusual buildings of great historic value. Not least of these are a pair of hay or threshing  barns, known as Top Barns or Hebridean Barns. These B-Listed buildings lie adjacent to the broch and can be readily seen on the well-used track to Carnoch and Torgarve. Until recently these barns featured significantly in community life, with the southern-most barn – once thatched with heather, but now unfortunately roofless – acting as a venue for dances into the 1970s.

This pair of buildings are considered very unusual regionally, and are a rare example of a type of barn found on in the Wester Ross parishes of Applecross, Gairloch and Lochbroom. They show a strong Hebridean influence in their walling of stone bound by shell-lime mortar.  Their basic design originally comprises five bays with open sides and ventilated panels at the openings. Probably originally of hazel hurdles, these earliest panels were subsequently replaced by roughly cut timber ‘backs’ from the sawmill. Only a few of these survive today. Their construction was to maximise air movement from the direction of the prevailing wind, for the purpose of threshing corn and drying hay.  At some point in it past, two deep silage pits were dug within the northern-most barn, which are currently covered with wooden shutters.

Recent years have not been kind to the barns, with the roof of the northern-most structure and the pillars on the point of collapse. Through the Applecross Landscape Partnership Scheme it is hoped to consolidate and conserve this building in the first instance during the autumn period, safeguarding one of the heritage treasures associated with the Mains farm.

 

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